Giant – George Stevens
Part of the pattern of Texas living is the old cattle aristocracy making way for the new oil rich. In some of the most carefully crafted scenes in the film, Stevens shows Jett Rink’s financial rise. Jett’s character develops as Stevens portrays his enthusiasm in working his own piece of land. Jett at last has something that belongs to him, and he feverishly works his “worthless” land for oil harder than he ever worked for the Benedicts. At last, his gusher comes in, and a rapturous Jett is drenched by the black gold. His tie to the Benedicts, part resentment, part envy, and part desire to show off to Leslie,prompts him to race over to the Big House where the Benedicts are enter¬taining. Smirking over his success, he becomes a bit too familiar with Leslie, which causes Bick to strike him. Jett recovers quickly, delivers a sharp blow in return, and then furiOusly rides off.
Jett’s increasing wealth and power in the state are often discussed by the other characters. Years later, still crude and insecure in spite of his wealth, he is back on the scene trying to woo young Luz. He has planned a huge party to celebrate the grand opening of one of his hotels. All Texas society, new and old, feels obliged to attend, including the Benedicts, despite their aversion to Jett. Dr. Jordan Benedict III and his Mexican wife Juana (Elsa Cardenas) make the trip, as well as graying Bick and Leslie. The Bob Dietzes and their young child are the only family members who do not attend the great affair. Juana has made an appointment with the hotel’s beauty parlor under the name Mrs. Jordan Benedict. When she arrives, she is told that Mexicans are not served. She calls Jordy, who demolishes the beauty parlor in a rage and proceeds to the big banquet hall for a confrontation with Jett. Jett is surrounded by bodyguards who hold Jordy down for Jett’s attack in front of a crowd of people which includes the other Benedicts. Bick, in spite of his conflicting emotions, rises to defend his son, and he too is felled by Jett.
Drunk and despondent over his failed attempt to impress Texas society, Jett has a touching scene in which he makes a pathetic speech to the deserted banquet hall. The speech is overheard by Luz, who earlier had defended Jett in defiance of her parents. Now at last she realizes that in Jett’s eyes she is no more than a substitute for her mother.